THUNDER BAY - Abby Brown is happy to see her friends, and play sports again.
The Claude E. Garton Public School student started Grade 8 Wednesday on the first day back to school for Thunder Bay students.
While Abby was excited to see her friends, entering her last year of elementary school felt bittersweet.
“It’s sort of sad to be leaving the school I’ve been going to for 10 years but I’m also excited to have new experiences in high school,” she said.
Fellow student Tanner Little is also entering Grade 8 and is excited for his last year before attending high school next year.
“I’m excited to go to high school afterwards, new experiences and new responsibilities,” Tanner said.
But for now, he was excited to see his friends again on Wednesday.
“Since I live far away, I don’t get to see them throughout the summer,” he said, adding he’s excited to see what new things he can learn this year.
Lakehead Public Schools’ director of education Ian MacRae said he’s optimistic for the school year and the board is especially excited for its new technology initiatives.
“I think students will really appreciate the technology infusion we’re experiencing and will over the next couple of years. We’re right on the cutting edge of that,” he said.
The public board has also had renovations completed over the summer to make room for full-time kindergarten classes.
There have also been infrastructure improvements to some of the board’s schools including boilers, heating systems and ductwork.
Enrollment numbers are slightly down this year compared to last, but MacRae said they have seen a jump in registration over the last week.
The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board has also seen a slight increase in registration over the last week and director of education Pino Tassone said they’ll have concrete numbers next week, but he’s optimistic the numbers will be up.
Tassone said the reason for the increase could be due to a number of factors including the board’s education quality and accountability office standardized test results.
“We also have that infusion of technology, especially in our high schools and just broaden that commitment into our elementary schools,” he said.
While there is a large focus on technology in the city’s Catholic schools, Tassone said their top priority is student well-being.
“We believe that in order for students to be successful academically, they have to feel good about themselves; they have to feel good about coming to school, so we ensure relationships are built there, we care for them, we make them feel welcome, make sure they’re well-nourished when they come to school to be first and foremost a second home for them,” Tassone said.
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